Divorce Blog

Is text messaging a bridge to better communication in divorce?

By Colette Fortin

Text messaging divorced woman alone for Christmas

Technological advances have changed the way we communicate in our relationships. But is it possible for text messaging to be a bridge to better communication in divorce?

A study by the Canadian Wireless Telecommunications Association found Canadians had sent almost 2,500 text messages per second.

That’s a total of 78 billion messages. Over 103 million photos, videos and pictures were also sent during that same period.

Many social scientists have wondered about the effects of technology on communication. And the impact these new tools will have on relationships. Changes to technology, and the ways we talk to each other, are already having an impact on us.
And as we’d expect, it’s changing how people communicate during and after divorce.

There’s no doubt that separation and divorce are now played out in the social media world. Status updates, relationship breakups, new relationships…

Personal lives are on full public display.

Sometimes this social messaging can lead to the actual break up.
Or, it can be the way someone finds out that the relationship has ended.

This is one of the negative aspects of social media.

No one wants to find out their marriage is over on Facebook. And tactics like this set the stage for rocky post-separation conversations.

But, the use of tech has some surprising benefits when navigating a divorce, particularly when it comes to talking with your former spouse.

There are many questions about the negative impact of social media on us.

But, it’s been my experience that digital communication can be helpful during divorce.

Text messaging can bridge the communication gap.

Enhancing communication between all sides creates better communication during divorce.

For example, in high conflict situations. I now see couples that don’t have to talk face-to-face or on the phone with their formal spouse as much.

Using text messaging allows us to stick to business at hand. It’s so much easier to talk without getting your emotions involved. Also, you can choose when to respond to messages.

Text to avoid telephone communication that leads to arguments.

By using text messaging or email, you have a chance to think through your response. This minimizes potential conflicts.

In the past, many arguments have happened at the front door when parents drop off or pick up the kids.

Now we have many communication options available. It gives the opportunity to talk to each other without the kids getting involved.

Text and email are also making it easier for divorced parents to stay connected.

With all the day-to-day happenings, more parents rely on text messages to relay information, whether it’s to update one another on schedules, drop-offs, school events, or homework.

Like, for example, the reminder “today is the field trip, and Jimmy needs to bring his skates to school”.

Technology can be an effective part of any co-parenting strategy.

And children themselves are using more technology to stay connected to their parents. Today’s family plans allow kids to stay connected while travelling between parents. When one parent travels frequently, technology allows families to stay connected. There is less risk of ‘losing’ touch when communication can happen anywhere.

Using Skype helps children be close to their other parent when travelling. This can reduce stress for younger children. Sending a video or posting pictures can also be effective for kids to stay in touch with parents. If one parent travels a lot or lives far away, these tools will be that much more valuable. Maybe you missed graduation 3,000 miles away, but you don’t have to wait for the annual summer visit to catch up.

There’s no doubt our society has become pretty comfortable with being ‘on-line.’ Time will tell whether this ‘chatter’ is actually improving our communication. Or if we’ll struggle to understand  each other. When used, text messaging and other social media can actually improve post-split communication.

They have given new meaning to our ability to ‘keep in touch’ while building our new separate lives.